Copeland News - January, 2012
We bring you this winter edition of Copeland News. Technology continues to move at an accelerated rate and businesses continue to embrace technology that was initially driven by the consumer sector.
While browsing this newsletter, if you think of anything that you would like to discuss as it applies to your situation, never hesitate to drop me a note. We are here to help and serve in any way we can.
In this issue of Copeland News
- More on Windows 8
- Reps Portal
- Your Conference Room
- Tablet Access to Your Systems
- Did You Know?
More on Windows 8
The development of Windows 8 is currently in process at Microsoft's workshop and could be released to the public in late 2012 or early 2013. Windows 8 is expected to run in one of two modes, which is selected at installation time.
The first mode resembles its predecessor, Windows 7. From what we understand, Windows 8 in this "legacy" mode will look and act very much like Windows 7. There should be no loss in functionality in terms of what can be done in Windows 7. It was always the goal of the developers to ensure that anything that can be run in Windows 7 will run just fine under Windows 8. Even in terms of layout, Windows 8 in this mode would be very similar to Windows 7, so there should be few problems navigating the interface and finding what you are looking for.
The second mode, called "Metro," presents the interface more like a Windows Smartphone. The interface is designed around "tiles," lending itself well to the touch capabilities of the device. Users navigate applications and files with their fingers, similar to what you may already be doing with your smartphone or tablet. Metro brings a whole new environment to the Windows user.
Metro will also bring a whole new set of expectations of what an application should or should not be. It's not clear on how this will shake out, but it is possible that when you purchase an application (MS Office for example), you will be shipped two versions of the application – a traditional version as well as a Metro version.
We admit that what we know of Windows 8 can change at any time, and we'll be sure to keep you updated with the latest. You can learn more about Windows 8 at HERE.
Many of our customers have outside sales representatives who need access to their internal systems. One of the most popular solutions for many of our customers has been the implementation of a "Rep Portal."
The Rep Portal is an Internet-driven application that we build with the following attributes:
- The rep logs into the portal through a browser – going to a site typically like http://reps.yourdomainname.com.
- The rep can search and find customers and contacts, and display specific geographic and demographic information on the customer and/or contact.
- Order History can be accessed, so the rep knows what has been ordered in the past and the order frequency.
- Items can be queried, so reps essentially have complete read-only access to pertinent fields on the Item File.
- If you use Telebuilder, the rep can interact with it by accessing and leaving call notes, etc.
- The portal can be accessed from any device that supports a browser – whether that may be a laptop, a smartphone, or a tablet.
- Access to the Rep Portal is easy and "no fuss," as there are no VPN settings to get involved with. The Rep Portal is as easy as accessing any other website from your device.
If you would like to know more about the Rep Portal, please let us know and we can show you how this all relates to your situation. The Rep Portal is a great and affordable solution to getting your people timely accurate information when they are on the road.
Your Conference Room
Conference rooms everywhere are undergoing transformations, and we are seeing this with many of our customers. Affordable hardware and flexible technologies make upgrades possible for even the smallest of businesses. Even higher-end projection systems are being swapped out for newer, more affordable technology. Many conference rooms today may include:
- A wall-mounted LED, LCD or plasma TV/monitor.
- A permanent PC or Laptop wired to the flat panel TV/monitor using an HDMI or equivalent cable.
- A wireless keyboard and mouse allowing you to interact with the PC from anywhere in the room.
- A webcam mounted on or near the flat panel TV/monitor allows for videoconferencing. Look for webcams that have wide angle lenses or that support "tracking." Most webcams today also include a built-in microphone with echo-removal.
- Installation and use of Skype on the PC in the conference room, to interact with customers and associates though audio and video.
- Public and private Wi-Fi access to the Internet from the conference is important. Public Wi-Fi access is for visitors to your building, giving them only access to the Internet. Private Wi-Fi access means associates from your organization have secured access to all resources in your building. A new Meraki unit can provide both public and private wireless access in your conference room.
- Smart-Board technology, like that found in many schools today, is a great solution if presentation is central to the rooms use. This is a pricier option, but can really work if your needs call for it.
In summary, many of these items will complement your conference room and can be done rather affordably. If you want to discuss this in more detail, let us know.
Tablet Access to your Systems
Many people are considering the purchase of a tablet for business use, typically an iPad or an Android-based tablet. The question often asked is, "How does one access our internal business systems from a tablet?"
Methods of accessing your systems can vary from device to device, but here are some popular choices to consider:
If you are at your workplace and can access your Wi-Fi network:
- You can turn on Remote Desktop on your desktop PC, allowing permission to remotely connect to it. On the tablet, you can download various RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) clients from wherever you get your apps that will allow you to connect to your PC.
- If you are accessing your system via PowerTerm, you will find a character-based terminal emulator in each tablets' corresponding app stores. Try to find an emulator with "WYSE60" emulation. A product called Tiny Term has been available on various tablets in their respective app stores.
- You can implement Terminal Services, which is software and possibly hardware at the server level, giving you more flexibility in implementing the RDP client as mentioned above.
If you are at home, travelling, or otherwise out of your corporate network's Wi-Fi range:
- You can utilize products like "GoToMyPC" for the iPad or Android to access your PC in the office. This is available in your respective app store.
- You can implement Terminal Services at the server level, and use a RDP client to access your systems. You also need to configure the use of the VPN on the tablet. Depending on the situation, getting the VPN to work correctly may be problematic.
- You can configure the use of the VPN on the tablet, and access a PC via a RDP client. Depending on the situation, getting the VPN to work correctly may be problematic.
Business system accessibility from tablets will continue to vary and grow over time. You can reference the tablet's "store" to find many solutions – some of which work better than others. There is no single "textbook" method to access your internal systems from your tablet, so plan on spending time (and sometimes money) on reviewing the various solutions for remotely accessing systems from a tablet.
Did You Know?
The latest studies show that iPhones have overtaken Blackberry as the top smartphone in the workplace.
This trend continues to show Blackberry as losing its clout as a workplace device.
The Top 10 tablets as of this writing, according to PC World magazine, are:
While the iPad runs the iOS operating system, the other 9 tablets all run Android from Google. In 2012, we are likely see a new iPad release (iPad 3) as well as a many new Android-based offerings.
Google's Chrome has edged out Firefox and is now the #2 used browser, behind Internet Explorer. Go to www.google.com/chrome.
Consider adding chat capabilities to your Website and Company Facebook page. ProvideSupport is a service that works great, can be implemented easily and is very affordable. Go to www.copelanddata.com or go to Facebook and search for Copeland Data Systems where you will see "Chat Support."
As an alternative to a full-fledged tablet, Amazon's Kindle Fire at $199 may be what the doctor ordered. This Kindle houses the Android Operating System and supports WIFI access – giving you complete access to the cloud. See http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0051VVOB2.
On the home front, it may be great to have the same files available on all of your devices, whether you are home or on the road. Dropbox (www.dropbox.com) does exactly that – it sync's up the files in a Dropbox folder across many of your devices (desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphone) so that these files are available to you no matter where you may be. You initial account with Dropbox for up to 2GB of storage is free.
Looking for a new connection to the Internet at your premises? T-1 lines, DSL lines and cable connections have been the solutions in the past. Additionally, Transwave Communications Systems, Inc offers another solution for either primary or backup connections. Transwave (www.transwave.net) offers broadband speeds at competitive prices to the WNY area.
Google Wallet is available, albeit for a limited number of smartphones at the moment. Google Wallet is an application that basically acts like a Credit or Debit card, where you can use your phone and the application to pay for products in brick and mortar shops by tapping their phones to a retailer's PayPass reader. This is available today on the Sprint Nexus S 4G phone, and will be available on other phones in the future. Google Wallet uses Near Field Communications similar to Credit/Debit cards that support PayPass. You can learn more at www.google.com/wallet.
The late Steve Jobs, the founder and leader of Apple, Inc., said it all back in June 2010 when he said, "I think PCs are going to be like trucks. Less people will need them. And this transformation is going to make some people uneasy, because the PC has taken us a long way." This statement gives us all something to think about as we think about the future of computing.
Should your business be on Facebook? Many businesses today either have some type of presence on Facebook, or are looking to be there. If you need some help in this, just let us know. Next time on Facebook, search for Copeland Data Systems. Please consider doing a "LIKE" if so inclined.
Looking for a new printer? If so, try to find a printer that is E-print capable.
As previously mentioned, Windows 8 will be released this calendar year and will offer a common platform for many devices - PCs, tablets and smartphones. Along with Windows 8 comes a strategy in supporting HTML 5. HTML 5 offers developers methods of expanding on what they are doing without the use of add-ins and 3rd party utilities. Many devices will support HTML 5 in the future, which makes it a great platform to build upon. While we are too early in the game yet to have solid results from HTML 5 application development, the future promises to offer, for instance, a CQCS Windows client that runs on smartphones, tablets, Macs, and PC's. Stay tuned for more results of HTML 5.
Backup is a necessary evil in our world today. Internet Backup has become standard, and is used in many environments. If you have not already done so, consider talking to us about moving your companies Windows and/or Linux backup to an IBackup (www.ibackup.com) environment. It is a rather affordable and a very stable solution. Some businesses use IBackup as a secondary backup and used as a safety valve to augment their current backup. The results of a hardware malfunction could be devastating to any company without a good backup strategy in place.
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